Braintree defeats Scituate to win Cranberry League title

BRAINTREE – Two homeruns in the seventh inning completed the Braintree White Sox’s frenzied comeback against the Scituate Shark Dawgs on Sunday afternoon as the White Sox won the 2021 Cranberry Baseball League title, the club’s ninth since 2010 and the 20th overall.

With the 4-2 victory, Braintree qualified for the Stan Musial World Series.

Late in the seventh with Scituate retaining a 2-1 lead, Braintree manager PJ Thompson hoped his team would make noise. Two loud crackling bats of his order turned out to be very loud.

On the second pitch of the inning, second baseman Ian Fair undoubtedly started over the right-field fence to tie it 2-2, replacing the angst of lagging behind with a sudden surge of momentum. .

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A batter later, first baseman Matt Foley, hitting the cleanup, picked left field and stole second soon after, setting up left fielder Jared Sharkey, who hadn’t registered a hit on his three previous trips to home plate. In his fourth appearance, however, Sharkey ended a fierce battle with Scituate reliever Jack Peters by throwing a ball into the shrubs behind left field, trotting around the bases with a smile and being swarmed by his teammates at the marble.

“He was throwing a few cursors at me over there, I shot two (foul) and I knew I hit them right, so I was looking for that one and I had to be on time. I was still a bit ahead, but I managed to put the barrel on it, ”said Sharkey. “Usually you don’t want it to come down to last at bat, but it’s always a fun way to end it. “

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Braintree’s Nate Koneski took the start and immediately took the lead, starting a pitching duel with Peters Scituate tandem and left-hander Matt Scibilio. Koneski racked up 11 strikeouts and gave up just three hits in seven innings of work.

Braintree's Nate Koneski scored eleven strikeouts and allowed just three hits in seven innings against Scituate on Sunday.

“It’s an easy game to play when Nate is throwing,” said Thompson. “He’s really good, he hasn’t had a walk in the regular season. He’s a player who gives the best of himself to everyone and makes sure that if they beat him, it will be with his best assets.

“When Nate throws it will be a close game and we have a chance to win them all.”

As for the Scituate side of the throwing battle, the Scibilio / Peters duo frustrated the White Sox’s aggressive order in six innings, until things took a turn for the worse in the seventh. It was all about bending – just not breaking.

Although Scibilio allowed some basic trail traffic with six walks and a pair of hits over his three innings on the mound, placing his fastball high in the zone prompted a few White Sox hitters. to bite.

Matt Scibilio from Scituate delivers.

Without withdrawal at the end of the third, Scibilio went through the full bases. His radiator control seemed to slip as each batter entered the box, but two consecutive strikeouts rekindled his confidence. A batter later, Braintree wide receiver Ricky Smith flew to left field and Scibilio walked away unscathed. He only gave up one run in the afternoon.

Peters, usually one of the Shark Dawgs’ starters, came in to resist the one-point deficit with the intention of potentially stealing a victory from the reigning three-time champions. Until the disturbing seventh, he gave up just three hits, one walk and did not allow a run. Everything went according to plan for Scituate pitching coach Jeff Dyer, who replaced Chris Diver as manager.

“Like I told the kids, it’s baseball. You can challenge yourself all day, but it is. They won the game, they played a good game, we held on with them, ”said Dyer. “I’m very proud of our guys.

Although Scituate was there at the end, Braintree’s bats found their rhythm at the right time as the CBL champions held the John Mariani Trophy on their field. Thompson, who lifted the trophy for much of the past decade, played in the White Sox outfield when the late Mariani was the team’s general manager.

“It’s important to us,” said Thompson of his team’s continued dominance. “We talked about it in the post-game breakdown about the importance of winning the Mariani Trophy – (he) was one of us and it feels like he’s still not gone. It means a lot to us. “

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